How to sell handmade cards
Your complete guide to selling handmade cards online! Find out where is best to sell your cards and a list of things you should consider before you start!
Turn your hobby into a small business!
Has anyone ever said to you "Wow, you should be selling these" after receiving one of your handmade cards? It's little bits of positive feedback like this that can get you thinking about how to start selling your cards.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you set up shop and start selling handmade cards.
Will you sell cards to make a profit or just to cover costs?
You need to be realistic about whether you are able to make a profit from selling cards as once you take into account all of the materials, wastage and commission (craft fairs/online shops) that you need to pay for will you be able to sell your work at a price people will be happy to pay.
It may be that you need to take time looking at where you buy supplies from and the design of your cards in order to make a profit selling your handmade cards. Some people are happy to simply cover their costs.
Are you going to take commissions or create cards ready for sale?
Or both? If you love making cards and are just looking for 'an excuse' to make more then you should probably stick to creating cards using your own designs and ideas, allowing you to continue to enjoy making the cards and making whatever you feel like!
Offering commissions adds a little extra pressure to your cardmaking, you will have a brief to comply with and also a deadline that must be met! This will suit some crafters but think hard about how it will feel if you have a few commisssions on all at the same time, do you want to add stress to what is currently your hobby to escape from everyday stresses and strains.
Bespoke cards will enable you to charge more, so it's worth weighing up the pros and cons!
How much will you charge for your cards?
We have created a complete guide to pricing handmade cards, take a look before you start to make sure you have included all the hidden costs.
Are your cards original?
Do you tend to create your own unique style using original artwork or do you use lots of stamps and dies? It's important you find out whether you are legally able to use these stamps and dies in work you plan to sell. In most cases brands operate an angel policy which allows you to sell a small number of handmade cards as long as not being mass produced.
Find a huge list of craft brand angel policies here - Angel Policy List
Are your cards good enough to sell?
This is a tough question! Sometimes our friends and family can be a little overly kind to us when they receive our work. If you know someone who will give you their honest opinion on the quality of your cards show them a selection of your work and ask them to be honest! It's not about your style this should be about your attention to detail and the quality of the folds.
You could share a pic of your cards in our forums and ask for people's honest opinions however you must 'take' any feedback and rather than get upset look at how you can improve your work.
Where to start selling your cards?
The first question is online or offline? Selling cards offline means less admin but it will be harder to get your work seen and to create a 'brand' and you will be limited to local craft fairs or asking if you can display your cards in workplaces or at your local hospital / independent shops or charity shops.
If you are a real technophobe then be realistic about your ambitions to sell handmade cards. The best small businesses sell both offline and online.
Should you sell on a website, social media or on a market place?
Setting up your own website has never been easier, however getting people to visit websites needs real skill and a lot of hard work. While building up your business it's a good idea to try your cards out on online marketplaces.
Facebook Market Place is great for getting local people to see your work, you can't post items as a business page though so you will have to sell from your personal Facebook profile
Other online marketplaces such as Ebay, Etsy or Amazon where lots of handmade cards are sold and you can set up a shop front very easily. You will pay a listing fee and commission, so you need to work this into your costs.
You can also sell direct on Facebook and Instagram, it can take lots of work to build up a following. More on that later in this post!
What's the best way to photograph handmade cards for selling online?
One of the things that really lets card sellers down and stops people buying your handmade cards is photography! Dark, blurry pics or dodgy backgrounds will really put people off. If your photos are not great then this should be a priority to fix before you start spending any money on websites or listing fees.
However, there's more to it than just taking a sharp picture. You can use your photography to create a really recognisable 'brand' by simply using consistent styling and lighting.
You also need to consider the angle of the photos which best show off your card. If your makes are all about texture and dimension then find angles which really show this off.
You can buy very inexpensive lightboxes which you can use with your phone camera to take well lit shots and some will come with backdrops.
Consider what kind of props will work well in your photos. You don't want the props to be the star of the photo so play around with different ideas but make sure the card is the main subject. You might also want to zoom in to certain elemts of your card to really show off the professional finish and give your online customer confidence.
You could also think about using short videos to show off your cards, especially if they have an interactive elements which are hard to capture in a static picture.
Marketing your handmade cards
This is probably the toughest part of selling cards, actually finding customers! The great thing about marketplaces is that they have lots of people browsing. However you still need to make sure that your product titles and descriptions match what people are likely to be searching for.
A great resource that is well worth reading is the Moz guide to Search Engine Optimisation. This will help you create product pages that are more likely to come up in the results when someone searches on Google or within a marketplace.
When setting up social media channels be realistic about how much time you have to keep them updated. You might find it's best to just focus on one and do it well. The key to great channels is consistency, spend time brainstorming ideas for posts that are more than just a stream of pics of items for sale in your online shop.
It's a good idea to collaborate with fellow crafters to help build your audiences. For example you could team up with someone who sells handmade gifts as when someone is buying a gift they're likely to want a card too. Be creative and think of new ways to engage your audience.
Get more help with selling your handmade cards and crafts!
You can find lots of help in our CraftWorld 'Shop Talk' forum, our community here at CraftWorld is all about supporting each other so do ask questions as we have so many friendly members that will be happy to help!